Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ali/Chomsky: US Interventionism, Then & Now

Series: Unwelcome Guests
#553 - US Interventionism, Then & Now
Featured Speakers/Commentators: Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky program link
Date Recorded: 2011-05-28

Summary: This week we hear a pair of perspectives from earlier this month on US foreign policy, both from seasoned critics of the US Imperial Strategy. Firstly, Tariq Ali reviews the historical record, from the genocidal expansionism of US colonists up this month's exploits in Libya. Secondly, Noam Chomsky speaksin Syracuse, NY on "What Drives US Foreign Policy & What We Can Do To Change It".

Credits: Thanks to Radio New Zealand from the Tariq Ali recording.

Notes: Our first hour this week begins with Tariq Ali challenging the establishment's view of the early US as an essentially beneficent state which extended its territorial dominion almost by accident over established societies and cultures such as the Native Americans and the Mexicans. He looks at the how ending slavery was used as a convenient cover for imperialist expansionism.

He outlines the rise and rise of USA as an imperial power, as WW1 saw the collapse of the European empires, and WW2 marked the eclipse of the European empires by USA and heralded the formal independence of the African and Asian colonies. Considering the ideological conflict of the cold war, he notes Karl Polyani's Great Transformation and reflects that the financial 'crisis' vindicates its central point that the 'free market' is so destructive to societies and cultures as to be untenable. He concludes his speech with some reflections on the hypocrisy of the recent attack by US lead forces on Libya.

At the end of our first hour, and the remainder of the show, we hear Noam Chomsky speaking on 2011-05-11 at Nottingham High School, Syracuse NY on the topic of "What Drives US Foreign Policy and what we can do to change it". Chomsky looks at what really drives US foreign policy, exposing the hypocrisy of talk about humanitarianism and the quest for 'security'. As he notes, the US and UK leaders who attacked Iraq knew that it posed no military or terrorist threat to US, but that it would after being attacked. What is referred to as 'national security' is in fact the security of the hyperrich, the financial elite who control US.

Continuing in our second hour, Chomsky continues his analysis of where power resides in US, noting how obvious evidence such as the bailouts and the economic motives behind the invasion of Iraq are omitted by commercially motivated media. He draws several threads together, paying tribute to the courage of the Arab people, who are threatening to impose democracy on nations in which US foreign policy goal has been the maintenance of dictatorships.

Chomsky deconstructs frequently used foreign policy concepts such as 'stability', by examining their use in context. China, he suggests, is the real threat to the US, because they can't be intimidated. On the subject of what we can do to prevent such aggressive US foreign policy, he considers the US domestic political situation. His conclusion is that US citizens should take courage from the success of Egyptians and Tunisians in standing up to brutal oppression and take matters into their own hands.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Empires Fall


Mr. Fish: Civilization and Its Malcontents

Civilization and Its Malcontents
By Mr. Fish article link
May 26, 2011 | TruthDig

In post-1950s America, an average person’s concept of what might be the meaning of life was more likely than at any other time in history to draw on a wide range of source material culled from a broad swath of disciplines throughout the culture. In order to understand why peace was elusive in Indochina, for example, in addition to looking to contemporary scholarship and modern reporting on the subject, one was as likely to draw on the teachings of Gandhi, Jung and McLuhan as much as on the work of Kerouac, Coltrane and Warhol. When contributing to a conversation about baseball, transcendental meditation or political assassination, insight was as likely to stem from a passage pulled from C. Wright Mills, Samuel Beckett or Susan Sontag as it was from a musical quote excised from Charles Mingus or a visual denouement remembered from Ernie Kovacs or a publicly pulled punch line from Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. MAD magazine was in competition with The New York Times for truth-telling; female sexuality was the volatile and thrilling combustible MacGuffin created by combining equal parts Miller and Millett, and the news analysis offered from “That Was the Week That Was” and “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” was often eminently more insightful than that offered from Walter Cronkite and CBS News or Bishop Sheen or Mom and Dad.

Specifically, the concept that one required a certain familiarity with a number of different points of view in order to perceive the three dimensionality of existence—that is, that one need not automatically assume that mainstream media was the most complete and reliable information source available—was verging on common knowledge, and, as a child, I thrilled to the notion that I might grow up both contributing to and becoming enlightened by all the burgeoning guesswork being offered by humanity as to what it meant to be the missing link between the most compassionate apes and the most treacherous angels.

In fact, there was a definite sense while growing up in the early ’70s that, finally, after a very deliberate and concerted effort by a dedicated group of very brave and very imaginative baby boomers, all the repressive social apparatus that had found its fullest expression by the middle part of the 20th century had been unraveled by the emergence of the counterculture and the growing popularity of a number of different literary, social and art movements, including the beatnik movement, the civil rights movement, bebop and cool jazz, abstract expressionism and action painting, protest folk, modern dance, Theater of the Absurd, neorealism and art house films, gonzo and New Journalism, the Confessionalist movement among poets, the feminist movement and the satire boom. Never again, so sounded the promise, would Americans need to feel so pressured to believe that their civic duty to both God and country alone trumped whatever personal journey of self-discovery their natural curiosities and personal inclinations begged them to commence. Never again would the citizens of the United States believe that in order to succeed in life they had to subjugate themselves to the woefully narrow fairy tale that the upward trajectory of Western civilization required that everyone maintain an unquestioning allegiance to, and nonparticipation with, the bureaucratic elitism of the federal government while simultaneously maintaining an almost manic devotion to cloying patriotism, rampant materialism and the codification of racism, sexism and classism into the status quo.

Because of the counterculture, anti-establishmentarianism could no longer legitimately be regarded by straight society simply as a non-belief—as nothing more than a reactionary disdain for the tenets of the dominant culture for the sole purpose of demonstrating contrarianism—but, like atheism, was correctly perceived in more contemporary terms as a viable, humanitarian philosophy unto itself, characterized by its own moral and intellectual purpose and self-perpetuation and frank usability. In other words, there was a definite sense while growing up in the early ’70s that, finally, after decades of political and cultural and existential struggle, American democracy was enjoying its fullest expression and that anything—at long last!—was possible.

Regretfully, however, after spending my entire adolescence memorizing, first, all that had inspired the ’60s enlightenment period—namely, the turn-of-the-century European and Russian intellectualism as demonstrated famously by the worldwide propagation of Marxism, psychoanalysis, existentialism, individualist anarchism, modernism, bohemianism, naturalism, realism, nihilism, agonism, futurism, decadence and absurdism—followed by a thorough examination of all the players responsible for igniting the democratizing era that ran for about 14 years known as The Sixties, I eventually came of age in a culture composed of significantly less symbiotic parts than I’d been preparing for. Gone, suddenly, was the worldwide peoples movement that had promised to socialize empathy, communalize self-reliance, intellectualize the passions of the id and to institutionalize a radical intolerance of institutions. In its stead was something that appeared to be its opposite, exemplified by such things as the war on drugs, the yuppie movement, Reaganomics and fashion trends that, like a network of completely perplexing diseases, sociologists are still wary to approach for close analysis for fear of contracting a truly virulent strain of Jan Hammer.

Staring open-mouthed at 17 in my Buddy Holly glasses, chinstrap beard, espresso-stained insides, putrid Chuck Taylors and newsprint-smudged fingertips, I wondered what had happened to the world into which I was hoping to enter so well rehearsed. Had the idealism of the ’60s been so ethereal as to have dissipated like cherry smoke, a victim of its own weightless optimism, or had it been dismantled by the super-sizing of corporate America? Had it been forever destroyed by the massive deregulation and privatization movements begun in the 1970s and early ’80s; movements that had given unprecedented amounts of power and influence to business markets which had then in turn—by being, at their philosophical centers, nothing but private anti-democratic tyrannies capable of corrupting even the most humanely driven among us (Jerry Rubin being the most famous example) with what Lewis Lapham once referred to as “enlightened selfishness”—bribed its participants, literally, away from their ideals with the most excessively narcissistic and ego-gorging of creature comforts?

Existing both in celebration of all that was promised to my generation by the artists and writers and public intellectuals from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s and in mourning of all that the 21st century has failed to collect upon with respect to those promises, I find myself everyday straining hard against the tether of time, back toward a past that had every indication of becoming some sort of dawn for the Age of Aquarius and away from a future that more and more feels like a pre-apocalyptic dusk that pre-empts the inevitable arrival of a very brutal and very dark nighttime, and I have to ask myself: Where is one expected to direct his rage when the enemy is the turning of the whole wide world and you’re met with the agonizing realization that, no, you didn’t say you wanted a revolution?

TruthDig profile Mr. Fish
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fred Reed: On Patriotism

On Patriotism: Examining the Firmware of War
May 27, 2011 | Information Clearing House | Fred On Everything

Patriotism is everywhere thought to be a virtue rather than a mental disorder. I don’t get it.

If I told the Rotarians or an American Legion hall that “John is a patriot,” all would approve greatly of John. If I told them that patriotism was nothing more than the loyalty to each other of dogs in a pack, they would lynch me. Patriotism, they believe, is a Good Thing.

Of course the Japanese pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor were patriots, as were the German soldiers who murdered millions in the Second World War. The men who brought down the towers in New York were patriots, though of a religious sort. Do we admire their patriotism?

Of course not. When we say “John is a patriot,” we mean “John is a reliable member of our dog pack,” nothing more. The pack instinct seems more ancient, and certainly stronger, than morality or any form of human decency. Thus, once the pack—citizenry, I meant to say—have been properly roused to a pitch of patriotism, they will, under cover of the most diaphanous pretexts, rape Nanking, bomb Hiroshima, kill the Jews or, if they are Jews, Palestinians. We are animals of the pack. We don’t admire patriotism. We admire loyalty to ourselves.

The pack dominates humanity. Observe that the behavior of urban gangs—the Vice Lords, Mara Salvatrucha, Los Locos Intocables, Crips, Bloods—precisely mirrors that of more formally recognized gangs, which are called “countries.” Gangs, like countries, are intensely territorial with recognized borders fiercely defended. The soldiers of gangs, like those of countries, have uniforms, usually clothing of particular colors, and they “throw signs”—make the patterns of fingers indicating their gang—and wear their hats sideways in different directions to indicate to whom their patriotism is plighted. They have generals, councils of war, and ranks paralleling the colonels and majors of national packs. They fight each other endlessly, as do countries, for territory, for control of markets, or because someone insulted someone. It makes no sense—it would be more reasonable for example to divide the market for drugs instead of killing each other—but they do it because of the pack instinct.

Packery dominates society. Across the country high schools form basketball packs and do battle on the court, while cheerleaders jump and twirl, preferably in short skirts (here we have the other major instinct) to maintain patriotic fervor in the onlookers. Cities with NFL franchises hire bulky felons from around the country to bump forcefully into the parallel felons of other cities, arousing warlike sentiments among their respective fellow dogs.

Fans. Fans.

Such is their footballian enthusiasm that they will sometimes burn their own cities in delight at victory or disturbance at loss. Without the pack instinct, football would hardly matter to them at all.

It’s everywhere. The Olympics, the World Cup, racial groups, political parties—Crips and Bloods, all.

Part of patriotism is nationalism, the political expression of having given up to the pack all independence of thought.

Patriotism is of course incompatible with morality. This is more explicit in the soldier, a patriot who agrees to kill anyone he is told to kill by the various alpha-dogs—President, Fuehrer, emperor, Duce, generals.

Is this not literally true? An adolescent enlists, never having heard of Ruritania, which is perhaps on the other side of the earth. A year later, having learned to manage the Gatlings on a helicopter gunship, he is told that Ruritania is A Grave Threat. Never having seen a Ruritanian, being unable to spell the place, not knowing where it is (you would be amazed how many veterans of Viet Nam do not know where it is) he is soon killing Ruritanians. He will shortly hate them intensely as vermin, scuttling cockroaches, rice-propelled paddy maggots, gooks, or sand niggers.

The military calls the pack instinct “unit cohesion,” and fosters it to the point that soldiers often have more loyalty to the military than to the national pack. Thus it is easy to get them to fire on their own citizens. It has not happened in the United States since perhaps Kent State, but in the past the soldiery were often used to kill striking workers. All you have to do is to get the troops to think of the murderees as another group.

If you talk to patriots, particularly to the military variety, they will usually be outraged at having their morality questioned. Here we encounter moral compartmentation, very much a characteristic of the pack. If you have several dogs, as we do, you will note that they are friendly and affectionate with the family and tussle playfully among themselves—but bark furiously at strangers and, unless they are very domesticated, will attack unknown dogs cooperatively and kill them.

Similarly the colonel next door will be honest, won’t kick your cat or steal your silverware. Sshould some natural disaster occur, work strenuously to save lives, at the risk of his own if need be. Yet he will consciencelessly cluster-bomb downtown Baghdad, and pride himself on having done so. A different pack, you see. It is all right to attack strange dogs.

The pack instinct, age old, limbic, atavistic, gonadal, precludes any sympathy for the suffereings of outsiders. If Dog pack A attacks intruding dog pack B to defend its territory, its members can’t afford to think, “Gosh, I’m really hurting this guy. Maybe I should stop.” You don’t defend territory by sharing it. Thus if you tell a patriot that his bombs are burning alive thousands of children, or that the embargo on Iraq killed half a million kids by dysentery because they couldn’t get chlorine to sterilize water, he won’t care. He can’t.

The same instinct governs thought about atrocities committed in wartime. In every war, every army (correctly) accuses the other side of committing atrocities. Atrocities are what armies do. Such is the elevating power of morality that soldiers feel constrained to lie about them. But patriots just don’t care. Psychologists speak of demonization and affecting numbing and such, but it’s really just that the tortured, raped, butchered and burned are members of the other pack.

I need a drink.

Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

G8: Rulers of the Darkness of This World

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].


Gar Alperovitz: The New-Economy Movement

The New-Economy Movement
by Gar Alperovitz article link article link
May 27, 2011 | CommonDreams | The Nation

The idea that we need a “new economy”—that the entire economic system must be radically restructured if critical social and environmental goals are to be met—runs directly counter to the American creed that capitalism as we know it is the best, and only possible, option. Over the past few decades, however, a deepening sense of the profound ecological challenges facing the planet and growing despair at the inability of traditional politics to address economic failings have fueled an extraordinary amount of experimentation by activists, economists and socially minded business leaders. Most of the projects, ideas and research efforts have gained traction slowly and with little notice. But in the wake of the financial crisis, they have proliferated and earned a surprising amount of support—and not only among the usual suspects on the left. As the threat of a global climate crisis grows increasingly dire and the nation sinks deeper into an economic slump for which conventional wisdom offers no adequate remedies, more and more Americans are coming to realize that it is time to begin defining, demanding and organizing to build a new-economy movement.

That the term “new economy” has begun to explode into public use in diverse areas may be an indication that the movement has reached a critical stage of development—and a sign that the domination of traditional thinking may be starting to weaken. Although precisely what “changing the system” means is a matter of considerable debate, certain key points are clear: the movement seeks an economy that is increasingly green and socially responsible, and one that is based on rethinking the nature of ownership and the growth paradigm that guides conventional policies.

This, in turn, leads to an emphasis on institutions whose priorities are broader than those that typically flow from the corporate emphasis on the bottom line. At the cutting edge of experimentation are the growing number of egalitarian, and often green, worker-owned cooperatives. Hundreds of “social enterprises” that use profits for environmental, social or community-serving goals are also expanding rapidly. In many communities urban agricultural efforts have made common cause with groups concerned about healthy nonprocessed food. And all this is to say nothing of 1.6 million nonprofit corporations that often cross over into economic activity.

For-profits have developed alternatives as well. There are, for example, more than 11,000 companies owned entirely or in significant part by some 13.6 million employees. Most have adopted Employee Stock Ownership Plans; these so-called ESOPs democratize ownership, though only some of them involve participatory management. W.L. Gore, maker of Gore-Tex and many other products, is a leading example: the company has some 9,000 employee-owners at forty-five locations worldwide and generates annual sales of $2.5 billion. Litecontrol, which manufactures high-efficiency, high-performance architectural lighting fixtures, operates as a less typical ESOP; the Massachusetts-based company is entirely owned by roughly 200 employees and fully unionized with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

A different large-scale corporation, Seventh Generation—the nation’s leader in “green” detergents, dishwashing soap, baby wipes, tissues, paper towels and other household products—has internal policies requiring that no one be paid more than fourteen times the lowest base pay or five times higher than the average employee.

In certain states, companies that want to brandish their new-economy values can now also register as B Corporations. B Corp registration (the “B” stands for “benefit”) allows a company to subordinate profits to social and environmental goals. Without this legal authorization, a CEO could in theory be sued by stockholders if profit-making is not his sole objective. Such status ensures that specific goals are met by different companies (manufacturers have different requirements from retail stores). It also helps with social marketing and branding. Thus, King Arthur Flour, a highly successful Vermont-based, 100 percent employee-owned ESOP, can be explicit, stating that “making money in itself is not our highest priority.” Four states—Maryland, Vermont, New Jersey and Virginia—have passed legislation that permits B Corp chartering, with many others likely to follow.

Cooperatives may not be a new idea—with at least 130 million members (more than one in three Americans), co-ops have broad political and cultural support—but they are becoming increasingly important in new-economy efforts. A widely discussed strategy in Cleveland suggests a possible next stage of development: the Evergreen Cooperatives are linked through a nonprofit corporation, a revolving loan fund and the common goal of rebuilding the economically devastated Greater University Circle neighborhoods. A thoroughly green industrial-scale laundry, a solar installation company and a soon-to-be-opened large-scale commercial greenhouse (capable of producing about 5 million heads of lettuce a year) make up the first of a group of linked co-ops projected to expand in years to come. The effort is unique in that Evergreen is building on the purchasing power of the area’s large hospital, university and other anchor institutions, which buy some $3 billion of goods and services a year—virtually none of which, until recently, had come from local business. Senator Sherrod Brown is expected to introduce national legislation aimed at developing Evergreen-style models in other cities. (Full disclosure: the Democracy Collaborative of the University of Maryland, which I co-founded, has played an important role in Evergreen’s development.)

* * *

Along with the rapid expansion of small and medium-size businesses committed to building the new economy has come a sense of community and shared mission. Staff, managers and owners at many of these companies are finding more opportunities to share ideas and pool resources with like-minded professionals. The American Sustainable Business Council, a growing alliance of 150,000 business professionals and thirty business organizations, has emerged as a leading venue for such activity. Most members are “triple bottom line” companies and social enterprises committed to the environment and social outcomes as well as profits.

In many ways the council operates like any advocacy group attempting to lobby, educate and promote legislation and strategies. Thirty-five leaders recently met with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, for instance, to make clear that the US Chamber of Commerce does not speak for all American business, to seek her help with specific projects and issues, and to fill her in on a range of environmentally and socially concerned economic efforts that definitely do not do business as usual. The names of some of the council’s constituent organizations offer a sense of what this means: Green America, Business for Shared Prosperity, Social Enterprise Alliance, Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity. Although ecological concerns are at the top, the council’s agenda is highly supportive of other progressive social and economic goals. A recent blog by Jeffrey Hollender, chair of the council’s advisory board (and former CEO of Seventh Generation), attacked the US Chamber of Commerce for “fighting democracy and destroying America’s economic future.”

The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), made up of more than 22,000 small businesses, is another rapidly growing organization that works to strengthen new-economy networks. BALLE brings together locally owned efforts dedicated to building ecologically sustainable “living economies,” with the ambitious long-term goal of developing a global system of interconnected local communities that function in harmony with their ecosystems. The group’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Hub, the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, recognizes area businesses that “demonstrate a strong social and environmental impact while also making a profit.” A recent example is GreenLine Paper, a company that produces green products and works to preserve forests and prevent climate change. By participating in the network, GreenLine Paper gains brand recognition and promotion, as well as marketing, policy support, technical assistance and access to a like-minded coalition of businesses.

Sarah Stranahan, a longtime board member at the Needmor Fund, recalls having a sense in late 2009 that large numbers of Americans were beginning to understand that something is profoundly wrong with the economy. Bearing this in mind, with a small group of other activists she brought leaders of diverse organizations together in early September of that year to explore ways to build a larger movement. The New Economy Network (NEN), a loosely organized umbrella effort comprising roughly 200 to 250 new-economy leaders and organizations, was the low-budget product of their meeting. NEN acts primarily as a clearinghouse for information and research produced by member organizations. “However, our most important role,” says Stranahan, who serves as the network coordinator, “has been to help create a larger sense of shared common direction in a time of crisis—a sense that the new-economy movement is much greater than the sum of its diverse parts.”

* * *

Several initiatives have begun to deal systematically with fundamental problems of vision, theory and longer-term strategy. The New Economics Institute (NEI), which is in formation, is a joint venture that brings together the former E.F. Schumacher Society and the New Economics Foundation, in Britain. Among the environmentalists and economists involved are Gus Speth, David Orr, Richard Norgaard, Bill McKibben, Neva Goodwin, John Fullerton and Peter Victor.

“For the most part, advocates for change have worked within the current system of political economy,” says Speth, a former adviser to Presidents Carter and Clinton, onetime administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and the recently retired dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, who has emerged as one of the new-economy movement’s leading figures. “But in the end,” Speth declares, “this approach will not succeed when what is needed is transformative change in the system itself.”

NEI is teaming up with other organizations, like the progressive think tank Demos, on several projects. One shared effort is attempting to develop detailed indicators of sustainable economic activity. As many scholars have demonstrated, the gross national product indicator is profoundly misleading: for instance, both work that generates pollution and work that cleans it up are registered as positive in the GNP, although the net real-world economic gain is zero, and there is a huge waste of labor on both sides of the effort. Precisely how to develop a “dashboard” of indicators that measure genuine economic gain, environmental destruction, even human happiness is one of NEI’s high priorities. Another is a detailed econometric model of how a very large economic system can move away from growth as its central objective. Related to both are earlier and ongoing Great Transition studies by the Tellus Institute, a think tank concerned with sustainability.

* * *

A less academic effort concerned with vision and long-term institutional and policy reform is the New Economy Working Group, a joint venture of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and YES! Magazine. Among other things, the working group (which includes people, like Speth, who are concurrently involved in other initiatives) is attempting to create detailed designs for state and local banks in support of new-economy institutional development. (The longstanding Bank of North Dakota is one important precedent.) The larger goal of the Working Group is to advance a coherent vision of an economy organized around sustainable local community economies. John Cavanagh, on leave as director of IPS, and his wife, Robin Broad, a professor of international development at American University, emphasize the importance to developing nations of communities that provide economic, social and environmental “rootedness” in an “age of vulnerability.” David Korten, board chair of YES! Magazine and author of Agenda for a New Economy, stresses a radically decentralized domestic free-market vision of “self-organizing” communities that rely almost entirely on local resources. He envisions a trajectory of cultural change that could not only reduce conventionally defined economic growth but even reverse it—in part to make up for past ecological and resource destruction, and also to deal with global warming.

It is possible, even likely, that the explosion and ongoing development of institutional forms, along with new and more aggressive advocacy, will continue to gather substantial momentum as economic and ecological conditions worsen. It is by no means obvious, however, how even a very expansive vision of such trends would lead to “systemic” or “transformative” change. Moreover, different new-economy advocates are clearly divided on matters of vision and strategy. Speth, for instance, sees far-reaching change as essential if the massive threat posed by climate change is ever to be dealt with; he views the various experiments as one vector of development that may help lay groundwork for more profound systemic change that challenges fundamental corporate priorities. Others, like David Levine, executive director of the American Sustainable Business Council, emphasize more immediate reforms and stress the need for a progressive business voice in near-term policy battles. What to do about the power of large private or public corporations in the long term is an unresolved question facing all parties.

* * *

Obviously, any movement that urges changing the system faces major challenges. Apart from the central issue of how political power might be built over time, three in particular are clearly daunting: first, many new-economy advocates concerned about global warming and resource limits hold that conventionally defined economic growth must be slowed or even reversed. In theory an economic model that redistributes employment, consumption and investment in a zero- or reduced-growth system is feasible, but it is a very hard sell in times of unemployment, and it is a direct challenge to the central operating principle of the economic system. It is also a challenge to the priorities of most elements of the progressive coalition that has long based its economic hopes on Keynesian strategies aimed at increasing growth.

A related problem concerns the labor movement. Many new-economy advocates hold progressive views on most issues of concern to labor. In a recent letter supporting progressives in Wisconsin, for instance, the American Sustainable Business Council wrote that “eliminating collective bargaining is misguided, unsustainable and the wrong approach to solving deeper, more systemic economic issues”—hardly the standard Chamber of Commerce point of view! Still, the ultimate goal of reducing growth is incompatible with the interests of most labor leaders.

Although there have been tentative off-the-record explorations of how to narrow differences among groups, no direction for agreement has emerged. That some cooperation is possible is clear, however, from common efforts in support of “green jobs,” such as the Apollo Alliance (which aims to create 5 million “high-quality, green-collar jobs” over the coming ten years) and the BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership of major labor and environmental groups dedicated to expanding the quality and availability of green jobs. IPS director Cavanagh is working with a small group of theorists and activists on a plan for green jobs that attempts to integrate new-economy concerns with those of labor and other progressive groups, and to link the expanding local efforts with traditional national strategies.

A further line of possible long-term convergence is new interest by the United Steelworkers in alternative forms of economic enterprise—and, importantly, larger-scale efforts. The Steelworkers signed an agreement with the Mondragon Corporation in 2009 to collaborate in establishing unionized cooperatives based on the Mondragon model in manufacturing here and in Canada. (Mondragon, based in the Basque region of Spain, has nearly 100,000 workers and is one of the largest and most successful cooperative enterprises in the world.)

A third and very different challenge is presented by traditional environmental organizations. Speth, a board member of the Natural Resources Defense Council, has found very little willingness among his fellow board members to discuss system-changing strategies, even if understood as long-term developmental efforts. The traditional organizations spend most of their time trying to put out fires in Washington, he notes, and have little capacity to stand back and consider deeper strategic issues—particularly if they involve movement building and challenges to the current orthodoxy.

* * *

For all the difficulties and despite the challenges facing progressive politics, there are reasons to think that new-economy efforts have the capacity to gather momentum as time goes on. The first is obvious: as citizen uprisings from Tunisia to Madison, Wisconsin, remind us, judgments that serious change cannot take place often miss the quiet buildup of potentially explosive underlying forces of change. Nor were the eruptions of many other powerful movements—from late-nineteenth-century populism to civil rights to feminism and gay rights—predicted by those who viewed politics only through the narrow prism of the current moment.

Many years ago, I was legislative director to Senator Gaylord Nelson, known today as the founder of Earth Day. No one in the months and years leading up to Earth Day predicted the extraordinary wave of environmental activism that would follow—especially since environmental demands are largely focused on morally informed, society-wide concerns, unlike those of the labor, civil rights and feminist movements, all of which involve specific gains important to specific people.

In my judgment, new-economy efforts will ultimately pose much more radical systemic challenges than many have contemplated. Nonetheless, new-economy advocates are beginning to tap into sources of moral concern similar to those of the early environmental movement. As the economy continues to falter, the possibility that these advocates—along with many other Americans who share their broader concerns—will help define a viable path toward long-term systemic change is not to be easily dismissed. In fact, it would be in keeping with many earlier chapters of this nation’s history.

© 2011 Gar Alperovitz

Gar Alperovitz is the Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland and co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative. Among his most recent books are America Beyond Capitalism and (with Lew Daly) Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Industrial War Machine


Robert C. Koehler: Ignorant Certainty: On Apocalypse and Empire

Ignorant Certainty: On Apocalypse and Empire
by Robert C. Koehler article link
May 26, 2011 | CommonDreams

Now that the end of the world didn’t happen, I can’t stop thinking about it. What chutzpah, what a diminished worldview, not simply to make such a prediction, but — even more incomprehensible, to my relentlessly self-questioning mind — to know you’ll be among the saved.

In 1011, a guy like Harold Camping would probably have been able to generate more panic than bemusement. A millennium later, with science taught in the public schools and all, we have a little more collective resistance to such thundering certainty leaping from highway billboards. I confess, however, to feeling a deep, reptilian tug last Friday morning, as I saw the sign — SAVE THIS DATE, MAY 21, 2011, CHRIST IS COMING — while driving through eastern Wisconsin. Yikes, that’s tomorrow.

What lingers for me in the aftermath of “life goes on (at least for a while)” is an alarmed sense of the power of ignorant certainty. Fanatical preachers are nothing more than the caricature of this power, which, in 2011, thrives like a virus in the American body politic.

“Today we presented legislation that advances our national security aims, provides the proper care and logistical support for our fighting forces, and helps us meet the defense challenges of the 21st century.”

Thus spake U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, in a press release two weeks ago announcing the committee’s approval of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 — which contains provisions so alarming it has been dubbed, by David Swanson, “arguably the worst bill ever considered likely to pass into law,” and even sparked an editorial in the New York Times.

Among the egregious provisions in the legislation, which awaits a vote on the House floor, as Swanson and many others have pointed out, are a crippling of the implementation of the new START treaty and a halting of the process of nuclear weapons reduction, keeping our nuke stockpile at Cold War levels; a total allotment of $690 billion for the Departments of Defense and Energy (including $119 billion to fund the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, $18 billion for ongoing nuclear weapons research and development, and funding for various other highly questionable weapons programs and systems); and allowance for the indefinite detention of current and future Guantanamo prisoners.

But the big, scary thing about this piece of legislation — the thing that summons a newer, deeper irrationality from the pit of our collective paranoia — is the provision that would expand the “war on terror,” at presidential discretion, to the whole world.

As the Times editorial put it: “Osama bin Laden had been dead only a few days when House Republicans began their efforts to expand, rather than contract, the war on terror. Not content with the president’s wide-ranging powers to pursue the archcriminals of Sept. 11, 2001, Republicans want to authorize the military to pursue virtually anyone suspected of terrorism, anywhere on earth, from now to the end of time.”

The bill circumvents Congress and the Constitution and would allow the Executive Branch to wage war solely at its own discretion. “It would allow military attacks against not just Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” the Times explains, “but also any ‘associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States.’” It authorizes, with its excruciatingly vague language, a sort of global manifest destiny.

And this brings me back to the idea of ignorant certainty — a certainty about who should live and who should die — that is the driving force not just behind religious fanaticism but, far more dangerously, behind the politics of empire.

The ignorant certainty of Harold Camping is essentially innocuous. He wasn’t calling on believers to dispatch suspected sinners to their just deserts in eternity, simply to relax in the belief that God would do it himself. But the ignorant certainty of the politically powerful leaves nothing to God. The killing is done on their initiative and at their discretion — and it’s real.

This is war, and it has thrived as vibrantly in democracies as it has in autocracies. It could even be argued that the democratization of war and glory, the promotion of everyman from squire to swordsman, has fanned the flames of war. Consider the history of the 20th century (and the first tenth of the 21st). Democratic governments, while generally holding themselves blameless, have been responsible for a large percentage of the carnage wrought by modern, industrial wars.

And the United States of America, the original democracy, now devotes about two-thirds of its energy and treasure to war and defense. With the invention of the “war on terror” — a term as vague and meaningless as “war on evil” or “war on sin” — the political true believers and the economic beneficiaries of war found a way to keep the game alive indefinitely. NDAA 2012 would create the legal framework to disconnect “terror” from the 9/11 atrocities and guarantee the future of war, at the mere cost of the national soul.

Something feels like it’s about to end. It’s not the world, just what’s left of American democracy. Once an interesting experiment in human sanity, it may prove unequal to its internal forces of fear and greed.

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

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The Search for War
by Norman Solomon article link
May 26, 2011 | CommonDreams


Rick Rozoff: The Anglo-American Military Axis

The Anglo-American Military Axis:
West Backs Holy Alliance For Control Of Arab World And Persian Gulf
by Rick Rozoff article link article link
May 26, 2011 | Global Research | Stop NATO

The standard-bearers of Anglo-American imperialism in the current epoch, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, met in London on May 25 to discuss the world's two ongoing wars of aggression, those in Afghanistan and Libya, both under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization dominated by Washington and London.

As well as joining a barbecue for American and British troops in the prime minister's haunts, in the gardens of Number 10 Downing Street, the two potentates called for continuing to bomb Libya back to the Paleolithic Age.

Displaying what passes for sophisticated humor in the contemporary deadened age, Cameron told the press, "It was...probably the first time in history, as we stood behind that barbecue, that I can say a British prime minister has given an American president a bit of a grilling."

Correspondents chuckled as Libyan, Afghan and Pakistani civilians writhe in their death throes from the bombs and Hellfire missiles delivered by Cameron's and Obama's warplanes.

Waxing as reflective as he is capable of doing, the British prime minister added: "Barack and I came of age in the 1980s and '90s. We saw the end of the Cold War and the victory over communism. We saw the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein and the world coming together to liberate that country. Throughout it all, we saw presidents and prime ministers standing together for freedom."

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder in triumphalism and unbridled militarism, more like.

British, French, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Qatari and United Arab Emirate warplanes have flown over 8,000 sorties and more than 3,000 combat missions against Libya since NATO took control of the war on March 31, before which the U.S. and Britain fired at least 160 cruise missiles into the nation. Hours before Cameron and Obama enjoyed their barbecue, NATO warplanes launched a one-hour bombardment of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, the most ferocious attack in more than two months, killing 19 people and injuring over 130 others.

The third plenipotentiary of Anglo-American global power projection, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland - who succeeded former NATO secretary general Javier Solana in the post - was in Washington last week to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and plan more onerous joint sanctions against Syria, with Clinton stating "we discussed additional steps that we can take to increase pressure and further isolate the Assad regime," exemplifying the diplomatic finesse the world has come to expect from the foreign policy executrix of the world's sole military superpower.

A week before, the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), whose six member states - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, to a one hereditary monarchies, emirates and theocracies, but accounting for 45 per cent of the world's proven oil reserves - are the West's main allies and proxies in the Arab world and the Persian Gulf, issued a joint declaration demanding that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi abdicate power in favor of the rebel Transitional National Council financed and armed by NATO and GCC nations and advocating the easing out of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in favor of a more pliant and reliable client.

The EU and GCC, with not a scintilla of apparent irony given the above, also demanded that Iran "play a constructive role and stop interfering in the internal affairs of GCC member states and other countries in the region." On March 14 the first of 1,500 troops from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the other GCC states entered Bahrain, two days after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates left the kingdom, to back up the Al Khalifa dynasty against opponents of the religious minority-dominated autocracy.

The following week Kuwait deployed naval forces off Bahrain "to protect the territorial waters of the kingdom" as part of the GCC's Peninsula Shield Force military intervention.

In announcing the penultimate round of sanctions against Syria in late April, President Obama included Iran, claiming "Iran’s actions in support of the Syrian regime place it in stark opposition to the will of the Syrian people." The will of the Bahraini people is another matter.

Since April the GCC, of which Yemen is not a member, has been pressuring the Yemeni government to accept its alleged mediation efforts to effect a change of regime, an initiative backed by the U.S. and its NATO allies. As German foreign ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke recently informed the press, "We call on President Saleh not to seek to wait out the situation, and to seriously consider and accept the mediation offer made by the Gulf Cooperation Council." He added that "The European Union might take new measures to up pressure on the regime 'should President Saleh stubbornly hang on.'" [1]

During his meeting with Prime Minister Cameron on the same day, President Obama chimed in by stating, "We call upon President Saleh to move immediately on his commitment to transfer power."

On May 23 European Union foreign ministers levied more stringent sanctions against Belarus, Iran, Libya and Syria, four nations - hardly surprisingly - also targeted by the U.S. for regime change.

Neither the U.S. nor its NATO allies in the European Union have breathed a word about introducing sanctions against the kings and emirs of the GCC states.

Qatar and its GCC partners were the prime movers behind the action by the Arab League, of which they constitute barely a quarter of the members, to call for a United Nations resolution against Libya on March 12. A week later the U.S., Britain, France and their NATO allies began the bombardment of the country.

Diminutive Qatar, an absolute monarchy with a population under 1.7 million, was the first country to recognize the rebel regime in Libya, the first Persian Gulf state to join a NATO combat mission by supplying French-made Mirage fighter jets and U.S.-origin C-17 Globemasters for the war effort, and set up a satellite television channel - Ahrar TV - as the mouthpiece for the Transitional National Council, as well as providing it with French-made MILAN missile launchers. Qatar is also managing oil exports from rebel-controlled Libya.

A news source in Azerbaijan published the following account on March 28, nine days after the war against Libya was launched:

"NATO's operation, worth about $300-500 million a day, on sweeping the sky over Libya opens a new historical era: the beginning of colonial conquests by the Persian Gulf states. At the same time NATO acts as a 'soldier of fortune' - a professional mercenary, ensuring colonial conquest itself.

"The defeat of Colonel Qaddafi's ground forces by NATO aviation has opened possibilities for the opposition for restoration of oil exports from Libya. As a result, according to a representative for the economy and oil of the 'transitional government' of the opposition, Ali Tarkhuni, the opposition has already reached an agreement on oil exports under the supervision of Qatar." [1]

On April 14 President Obama hosted the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, at the White House and praised his guest for "the leadership" he demonstrated in promoting "democracy in the Middle East," particularly in Libya, adding:

"Qatar has not only supported [the campaign against Libya] diplomatically but has also supported it militarily and we are very appreciative of the outstanding work that the Qataris have done side by side with other international coalition members." The emir responded by thanking Obama for "the position the U.S. has taken in support of the democratization process that has taken place in Tunisia and in Egypt and what is attempting to take place in Libya."

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is one of 49 official Troop Contributing Nations supplying forces for NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (Bahrain, though not in that category, also has military personnel assigned to NATO in the war zone), announced last week that it will be the first Arab nation to send an ambassador to NATO headquarters in Brussels. The UAE is also the only other Arab state providing warplanes for the now 68-day attack against Libya.

Along with its fellow GCC member states Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, the UAE is a member of the NATO Istanbul Cooperation Initiative military partnership established in 2004. NATO has conducted conferences, sent leading military commanders and deployed warships to all six GCC nations, including Saudi Arabia and Oman, not yet full members of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. The Alliance's ever-expanding role in the Persian Gulf is designed to contain and when the opportunity arises confront Iran.

Two years ago French President Nicolas Sarkozy travelled to the UAE to open his nation's first military base in the Middle East, in the Abu Dhabi emirate, where he stated to his host: "Be assured that France is on your side in the event your security is at risk."

In the middle of April, starting on the day Obama met with Qatar's Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, NATO foreign ministers met in Berlin to plan the intensification of the war against Libya, with Hillary Clinton stating that the bloc's members were "sharing the same goal, which is to see the end of the Gaddafi regime in Libya." The NATO foreign ministers signed a declaration pledging continuation of the war which was also signed by representatives of Jordan, Qatar, Morocco, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates, all members of NATO partnership programs: The Mediterranean Dialogue, Partnership for Peace and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

Ten days ago Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri announced that his nation intends to join the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the GCC reciprocated by confirming that it was considering the request and a parallel one by Jordan. Neither country is near the Persian Gulf but both are monarchies.

At the Congress of Vienna in 1815 after the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo, the monarchies in Russia, Austria and Prussia created what became known as the Holy Alliance to unite the European continent under a coalition of kings, czars and emperors exploiting a patina of religiosity to forever fend off the reappearance of republicanism. Of forces they couldn't control.

The self-proclaimed champions of Euro-Atlantic values gathered under the banner of NATO have now found their fitting complement: The kingdoms and emirates of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. A kinship indeed exists, as the majority of nations bombing Libya on both sides are monarchies: Belgium, Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as well as NATO partner Sweden which has assigned eight Gripen warplanes for the war and Canada once removed.

Last September the Financial Times reported that Washington planned to sell $123 billion worth of arms to GCC states - $67.8 billion to Saudi Arabia, $35.6 billion to the United Arab Emirates, $12.3 billion to Oman and $7.1 billion to Kuwait - in addition to incorporating the Gulf states into the global U.S. missile shield system.

The White House later confirmed a $60 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, the largest foreign arms transaction in American history.

The U.S., Britain, France, Italy and their NATO allies have revealed their plans for control of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf: A comprehensive military alliance with the royal families of the Arab world.


1) Agence France-Presse, May 25, 2011

2) NATO conquered from Gaddafi control over Libyan oil for Qatar Azerbaijan Business Center, March 28, 2011

Rick Rozoff is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Global Research articles by Rick Rozoff
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brian Tierney: Attacking the Memory of Workers’ Struggle

Attacking the Memory of Workers’ Struggle
by Brian Tierney article link article link
May 25, 2011 | CommonDreams | Subterranean Dispatches

If you thought the bipartisan crusade against workers to roll back union rights would be enough to soften the saber rattling of corporate class warfare, think again.

Not content with the legislative assault on workers’ rights in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and beyond, the corporate ideologues on the far right of the budget-cutting and union-busting onslaught are also going after the very history of labor struggle.

A reminder of the academic front in the war on working people was played out over the past several weeks at the University of Missouri where two labor relations professors nearly lost their jobs thanks to a right-wing smear campaign that involved an invasion of privacy and some crafty video editing.

Video footage of Judy Ancel, director of the Institute for Labor Studies at the university, and her colleague Don Giljum jointly teaching a class on labor relations was distorted in order to pull this out-of-context quote from the mouth of Ancel: “Violence is a tactic, and it’s to be used when appropriate – the appropriate tactic.”

Leaving aside the fact that this quote would be utterly uncontroversial had Ancel been teaching a class on, say, U.S. foreign policy instead of labor relations, the reality was that this was not what she said at all.

The footage was obtained from the university’s video interconnect system, which allowed Ancel and Giljum to teach the course to two classes located on two separate University of Missouri campuses in Kansas City and St. Louis. And that video fell into the hands of none other than Andrew Breitbart, the right-wing blogger who has made a career out of defaming apparently anyone to the left of Sean Hannity.

“I was just appalled,” Ancel told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, describing her reaction to the video. “I knew it was me speaking, but it wasn’t saying what I had said in class.”

After posting it on his BigGovernment.com website, Breitbart’s hit job made the rounds on conservative blogs and talk radio, prompting a visceral right-wing campaign demanding the termination of the two professors along with the entire labor studies program.

The intense pressure nearly forced university officials to accept Giljum’s conditional resignation offer. But the university reversed course when it came to light that the video was doctored.

“The excerpts that were made public…were definitely taken out of context, with their meaning highly distorted through splicing and editing from different times within a class period and across multiple class periods,” the university said in a statement.

Ancel’s quote about violence in the BigGovernment.com video left out the fact that she was herself paraphrasing a statement made by someone interviewed in a film that she screened in her class.

“[H]e represented the kind of thinking that went into the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and then later…he said violence is a tactic, and it’s to be used when it’s appropriate – the appropriate tactic,” the professor told her students.

The video’s distortion of Giljum’s remarks in class included statements acknowledging the violence in U.S. labor history and expressing his view that violence and “industrial sabotage” may have had their place at certain times.

Again, that statement left out Giljum’s comments that followed immediately afterward in which he said, “It [violence] certainly makes you feel a hell of a lot better sometimes. But beyond that, I’m not sure that, as a tactic today, the type of violence or reaction to violence we had back then would be called for here. I think it would do more harm than good.”

Before these distortions were exposed, the right was up in arms. Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder was interviewed on a Tea Party radio program saying, “They [the professors] sit around…matter-of-factly discussing violent overthrow of the capitalist order or the existing order, the workers taking to the streets and committing violent acts of industrial sabotage.”

In other words, these seditious labor professors were teaching students about the actual historical facts of labor history in the U.S.

On one level, this was just another sleazy attack by Breitbart and his cohorts. Recent attacks like this one involved edited videos to disparage ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, Planned Parenthood and NPR – attacks that revealed the vile racism, Islamophobia, and anti-women bigotry that are the bread and butter of right-wing attack dogs like Breitbart and his ilk.

But this story also points to the more entrenched history of blacking out labor history in education. Last year Texas conservatives managed to rewrite history as they revised social studies curriculum that would affect the content of textbooks used in high schools throughout the country. As historian Eric Foner noted at the time:

Judging from the updated social studies curriculum, conservatives want students to come away from a Texas education with a favorable impression of: women who adhere to traditional gender roles, the Confederacy, some parts of the Constitution, capitalism, the military and religion. They do not think students should learn about women who demanded greater equality; other parts of the Constitution; slavery, Reconstruction and the unequal treatment of nonwhites generally; environmentalists; labor unions; federal economic regulation; or foreigners.

Over the past several decades, numerous studies of the treatment of labor history in U.S. textbooks have found coverage to be woefully inadequate to the point of glossing over the subject altogether. In particular, various studies in the 1990s and a more recent report by the American Labor Studies Center found that textbooks generally omitted the role that the labor movement played in the Civil Rights Movement and labor’s efforts against discrimination against women and other oppressed groups in the workplace.

An American Labor Studies Center report in 2009 surveyed textbooks published by the four largest textbook companies and observed that labor’s role in social progress is given little mention, and major strikes are almost routinely treated as “costly failures, as violent, as lacking public support and backfiring against unions.” The often violent role of employers in strikes is also given short shrift, if it is covered at all.

Few people will remember having learned very much about U.S. labor history in their high school curriculum. What is considered essential U.S. history in most textbooks excludes the fact that fundamental rights like the right to collective bargaining, the eight-hour workday and the weekend were all things that had to be vigorously fought for, and those fights often entailed a great deal of violence for the simple reason that businesses and government forces would not give in to workers’ demands without a fight.

Academia in higher education has sometimes had a reputation of being immune to conservative impulses the permeate other areas of the education system, but this has become less true over the past several decades with the upsurge of robust and well-funded conservative activism on campuses.

Led by conservatives like David Horowitz, author of The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, ultraconservative student groups on campuses around the country have been propped up to combat what they see as the entrenched left-wing radicalism and anti-American thought that dominates academia.

Horowitz’s MacCarthyite witch hunts have gone after the careers of many professors, condemning their “leftist indoctrination” in the classroom. Ironically, this attack on academic freedom by Horowitz and others on the right is seen by them as an effort to defend what they call “academic freedom,” or what others would describe as conservative indoctrination.

Unsurprisingly, the notorious billionaire Koch brothers – known for bankrolling the tea party movement and state-led attacks on public sector workers – are also pushing their right-wing corporate agenda on college campuses. In 2008 the economics department at Florida State University accepted a $1.5 million grant from a Koch-run foundation in exchange for giving Charles Koch the right to essentially conduct ideological screening in selecting professors.

And as Think Progress reported earlier this month, Koch also virtually owns George Mason University in Virginia through grants and think tanks within that school. Koch has poured huge sums of money into West Virginia University, Brown University, Troy University, and Utah State University in order to push conservative curriculum and other projects.

It was against this backdrop that Professors Ancel and Giljum found themselves in the crosshairs of the anti-worker war against academic freedom and labor history.

Two days after the video was posted on Brietbart’s website, Giljum, who also has worked for 27 years as the business agent for the International Operating Engineers Local 148, received a call from the international union president demanding his resignation. Although Giljum was planning to retire in May anyway, he complied and resigned several days before he was set to retire.

As Ancel explained in the interview on Democracy Now!, “We never were teaching violence in the classroom…We were talking about the violence in labor history, which is extreme in the U.S., and we were talking about the fact that, in many situations, there is violence, and it’s mostly directed at the workers.”

Ancel also pointed out the importance of the timing of this attack. The uproar around the professors at the University of Missouri coincided with efforts in the state to push right-to-work bills and other anti-worker legislation.

Indeed, this was not an isolated assault on academic freedom – it was an attack on labor education in the context of the wider offensive against public sector employees.

“I’m a pubic employee. I work for a public university,” Ancel told Amy Goodman. “The labor education programs throughout the country are almost entirely in public universities. And of course they’re going to attack the most vulnerable parts of those universities.”

Breitbart himself made his intentions clear in April when he announced on Fox News that “We are going to take on education next, go after the teachers and the union organizers.”

This most recent attack in Missouri comes on the heels of another anti-labor effort against academics in March when the conservative Mackinac Center for Public Policy made requests for the public disclosure of private faculty emails at the Labor Studies Departments at Michigan State University and Wayne State University. The Republican Party in Wisconsin made similar requests regarding labor professors’ emails at the University of Wisconsin. Conservatives were seeking access to emails containing terms such as “Wisconsin,” “Scott Walker,” “collective bargaining,” “rally,” and “union.” Also fitting into this pattern of attacks on labor history are the efforts of Maine’s governor to remove a labor-themed mural in the lobby of Maine’s Department of Labor.

The message of all of these anti-worker campaigns is clear: the right does not only want full ownership of our labor – they want the rights to our collective memory as well.

Knowledge about labor history among students is crucial at a time when heightened attacks on workers and unions are taking place throughout the country, including on college campuses. The vindication of Ancel and Giljum was due in part to the fact that their students organized in their defense, writing letters of support and using other means to pressure the university.

In the midst of the war on labor education, students on campuses throughout the country have been engaged in solidarity struggles with workers at their schools who face brutal working conditions, hostile management and anti-union activity. Over the last two months, student activists – many of whom are affiliated nationally with United Students Against Sweatshops – have staged sit-ins at the University of Washington, Cornell University, the University of Texas, Rutgers University, Emory University, Northeastern University, Tulane University, the University of Wisconsin, Ohio State University, and the College of William and Mary.

Twenty-five students were arrested after occupying the president’s office at the University of Washington earlier this month; they were demanding that the university end its contract with campus food-services provider Sodexo, a company that has a reputation of worker abuse. Other student-labor solidarity actions since April have taken place at the University of Chicago and at the University of Maryland where revelations have surfaced about rampant worker abuse, including sexual assault, racism, management intimidation and other abuses that have led to campus workers referring to their workplace as “the plantation.”

These campus struggles raise the urgency of protecting and expanding the academy as a place for teaching and learning the history of labor and workers’ struggle in this country. At a time when workers and unions are under attack, budgets for the poor are being slashed and politicians are recruited by Wall Street to safeguard the wealth of a few, our history of class consciousness and militancy is itself a dangerous weapon against the ruling class.

This is why, as we struggle to make our own history now – defending and advancing our rights and power as workers and other oppressed groups – we must defend the academics who are dedicated to teaching the instructive history of past struggle, especially when they are entrapped in the anti-education dragnet of the right.

In A Peoples History of the United States, the late social justice historian Howard Zinn wrote, “The memory of oppressed people is one thing that cannot be taken away, and for such people, with such memories, revolt is always an inch below the surface.”

Today, there are in fact concerted efforts being made to rob workers of our past. A fight needs to be waged to defend our memory.

Brian Tierney is a freelance labor journalist in Washington, DC

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Privatization: The Road to Hell
by Jim Hightower article link article link
May 25, 2011 | CommonDreams | Creators.com
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bill Quigley: Over Two Thousand Six Hundred Activists Arrested in US Protests

Over Two Thousand Six Hundred Activists Arrested in US Protests
by Bill Quigley article link
May 24, 2011 | CommonDreams

Since President Obama was inaugurated, there have been over two thousand six hundred arrests of activists protesting in the US. Research shows over 670 people have been arrested in protests inside the US already in 2011, over 1290 were arrested in 2010, and 665 arrested in 2009. These figures are certainly underestimate the number actually arrested as arrests in US protests are rarely covered by the mainstream media outlets which focus so intently on arrests of protestors in other countries.

Daniel Ellsberg flashes a pair of peace signs as he's led away by capitol police on December 16, 2010. One hundred thirty one protestors, including numerous veterans, gathered in the snow outside the White House challenging the war in Afghanistan. (CommonDreams)

Arrests at protest have been increasing each year since 2009. Those arrested include people protesting US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo, strip mining, home foreclosures, nuclear weapons, immigration policies, police brutality, mistreatment of hotel workers, budget cutbacks, Blackwater, the mistreatment of Bradley Manning, and right wing efforts to cut back collective bargaining.

These arrests illustrate that resistance to the injustices in and committed by the US is alive and well. Certainly there could and should be more, but it is important to recognize that people are fighting back against injustice.

Information on these arrests has been taken primarily from the newsletter The Nuclear Resister, which has been publishing reports of anti-nuclear resistance arrests since 1980, and anti-war actions since 1990.

Jack Cohen-Joppa, who with his partner Felice, edits The Nuclear Resister, told me “Over the last three decades, in the course of chronicling more than 100,000 arrests for nonviolent protest and resistance to nuclear power, nuclear weapons, torture, and war, we've noted a quadrennial decline as support for protest and resistance gets swallowed up by Presidential politicking. It has taken a couple of years, but the Hopeium addicts of 2008 are finally getting into recovery. We're again reporting a steady if slow rise in the numbers willing to risk arrest and imprisonment for acts of civil resistance. Today, for instance, there are more Americans serving time in prison for nuclear weapons protest than at any time in more than a decade.”

In the list below I give the date of the protest arrest and a brief summary of the reason for the protest. After each date I have included the name of the organization which sponsored the protest. Check them out. Remember, they can jail the resisters but they cannot jail the resistance!


January 1, 2011. Nine women, ages 40 to 91, who brought solar panels to the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor were arrested for blocking the driveway at Entergy Corporation. Shut It Down.

January 5, 2011 and February 2, 2011. Five arrests were made of peace activists protesting at Vandenberg Air Force base, including a veteran of WWII. Vandenberg Witness.

January 11, 2011. Ten people protesting against the continued human rights violation of Guantanamo prison trying to deliver a letter to a federal judge were arrested at the federal building in Chicago, Illinois.

January 11, 2011. A sixty one year old grandmother protesting against excessive radiation was arrested for blocking the path of a utility truck in Sonoma County, California.

January 15, 2011. Twelve people protesting against Trident nuclear weapons at the Kitsap-Bangor naval base outside of Seattle, Washington were arrested – six on state charges of blocking the highway and six others on federal charges of trespass for crossing onto the base. Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.

January 17, 2011. Marking the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, people protested outside the Lockheed Martin Valley Forge Pennsylvania office where eight people were arrested. Brandywine Peace Community.

January 17, 2011. Three people protesting the US use of armed drones and depleted uranium were arrested at the Davis-Monthan air force base near Tucson Arizona.

January 29, 2011. Eight peace activists marking the 60th anniversary of the testing of the atom bomb were arrested at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site. Nevada Desert Experience.

February 10, 2011. Twenty three hotel workers were arrested after protesting management abuses at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. UNITE Here Local 2.

February 15, 2011. A former CIA agent turned whistleblower was arrested and battered by police for standing silently and turning his back during a speech on the need for human rights in Egypt delivered by the US Secretary of State. Veterans for Peace.

February 17, 2011. Nine people protesting against the attack on collective bargaining in Wisconsin were arrested at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison.

February 25, 2011. Eleven people protesting federal budget cuts against the poor, including one person in a wheelchair were arrested charged with blocking traffic in Chicago.

March 4, 2011. Three people were arrested in Seattle after a protest against police abuse.

March 4, 2011. Sixteen people were arrested at a protest against tuition increases at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

March 10, 2011. Fifty people protesting the removal of collective bargaining rights were arrested after being carried out of the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison.

March 16, 2011. Seven union supporters protesting proposals to strip collective bargaining from teachers were arrested in Nashville Tennessee.

March 19, 2011. One hundred thirteen people protesting the eighth anniversary of the war in Iraq, lead by Veterans for Peace, were arrested at White House. Veterans for Peace.

March 19, 2011. Eleven military family members and veterans were arrested in Hollywood California after staging a sit protesting the 8th anniversary of the war in Iraq. Veterans for Peace.

March 20, 2011. Thirty five people were arrested protesting outside the Quantico brig where Bradley Manning was being held. Bradley Manning Support Network.

March 28, 2011. Seven people defending a family against eviction and protesting home foreclosures were arrested in Rochester, NY, including a 70 year old neighbor in her pajamas. Take Back the Land.

April 4, 2011. Seven people protesting against unjust immigration legislation barring undocumented immigrants from Georgia colleges were arrested for blocking traffic in Atlanta Georgia.

April 7, 2011. Seventeen people were arrested protesting budget cuts in assistance for the poor and elderly and calling for an end to corporate tax exemptions in Olympia Washington.

April 10, 2011. Twenty seven people calling attention to the thousands of murders of people in Latin America by graduates of the US Army School of the Americas/WHINSEC were arrested outside the White House. School of Americas Watch.

April 11, 2011. Forty one people, including the Mayor and many of the members of the District of Columbia city council, protesting Congressional action limiting how the District of Columbia could spend its own money were arrested in Washington DC.

April 15, 2011. Eight teenage girl students, some as young as fourteen, were arrested after they refused to leave their public school Catherine Ferguson Academy, which is specially designated for pregnant and mothering teens in Detroit. Also with the young women were children and teachers. The school is targeted for closure due to budget cutbacks.

April 22, 2011. Thirty seven people were arrested protesting the use of drones outside the Hancock Air Force base near Syracuse New York. Syracuse Peace Council. Ithaca Catholic Worker.

April 22, 2011. Eleven women chained and locked the gate at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon Vermont before being arrested.

April 22, 2011. Thirty three people protesting at the Livermore Lab which designs nuclear weapons at an interfaith peace service were arrested for trespassing in California.

April 22, 2011. Four people were arrested at the Pentagon after they held up a banner and read from a leaflet outside of the designated protest zone. Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.

April 24, 2011. Sixteen protestors against nuclear weapons at the Nevada National Security Site were arrested after a sixty mile sacred walk from Las Vegas. Nevada Desert Experience. Pace e Bene.

May 2, 2011. Fifty two protestors against a nuclear weapons plant in Kansas City Missouri were arrested after blocking a gate to the construction site. Holy Family Catholic Worker.

May 9, 2011. Five people protesting against draconian immigration laws were arrested in the governor’s office in Indianapolis, Indiana.

May 7, 2011. Seven people celebrating Mothers Day and protesting nuclear weapons were arrested outside the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor twenty miles from Seattle. Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.

May 9, 2011. Sixty five people protesting cutbacks in education funding were arrested in Sacramento California.


January 6, 2010. Over one hundred people protesting for union recognition of hotel workers at Hyatt San Francisco were arrested. UNITE Here Local 2.

January 15, 2010. A man who served nearly six months in jail and who was still on probation for hammering windows at a military recruiting center in Lancaster Pennsylvania was arrested at the recruiting center after insisting that recruiters and recruits to leave the army.

January 18, 2010. Seven people commemorating Martin Luther King’s birthday wore sandwich board messages saying “Make War No More,” “It’s about Justice,” and “its About Peace,” outside of Lockheed Martin’s main entrance in Merion Pennsylvania until they were arrested. Brandywine Peace Community.

January 21, 2010. Forty-two people protesting the ongoing human rights violations of Guantanamo prison were arrested at the US Capitol building. Twenty-eight were arrested on the steps of the Capitol and fourteen inside the rotunda. Witness Against Torture.

January 26, 2010. Thirteen people from Minnesota lobbying to stop funding for war were arrested after holding a die-in on the sidewalk in front of the White House. Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

January 31, 2010. Eight people were arrested trying to protest at Vandenberg Air Force base in California, one of those arrested, an octogenarian, was brought to the hospital for injuries suffered in the arrest. A few days later, seven protestors were arrested at the same spot. A month later, four more protestors were arrested. Vandenberg Witness.

February 22, 2010. Five people protesting against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were arrested inside US Senators’ offices in the Des Moines Iowa federal building. Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Des Moines Catholic Worker.

March 4, 2010. Four students protesting against rape were arrested after they refused to leave the administration building at Michigan State University in East Lansing Michigan.

March 20, 2010. Nine peace activists were arrested in Washington DC for lying down beside mock coffins outside the White House.

March 21, 2010. Two people protesting at the Aerospace and Arizona Days air show at Monthan Air Force base held a banner declaring “War is not a Show” in front of a Predator Unmanned Air Vehicle (drone) were arrested.

March 30, 2010. Eight protestors were arrested during a march against police brutality in Portland Oregon.

April 2, 2010. Eleven people on a Good Friday walk for peace and justice were arrested outside the USS Intrepid in New York city after they began reading the names of 250 Iraqi, American and Afghan war dead. Pax Christi New York.

April 2, 2010. Nine people carrying a banner “Lockheed Martin Weapons + War = The Crucifixion Today” in the 34th annual Good Friday protest at Lockheed Martin were arrested in Valley Forge Pennsylvania. Brandywine Peace Community.

April 4, 2010. Twenty two people protesting against nuclear weapons after the Sacred Walk from Las Vegas to the Nevada Nuclear Test Site were arrested after the Western Shoshone sunrise ceremony and Easter Mass. Nevada Desert Experience.

April 7, 2010. Three people, including a 12 year old girl, were arrested inside a US Senators office in Des Moines, Iowa with a banner “No More $$$ For War.” The mother of the 12 year old girl was called into the police station and issued a citation the next day for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Voices for Creative Nonviolence and Des Moines Catholic Worker.

April 15, 2010. A man protesting nuclear weapons was arrested inside the security fence of a nuclear missile silo near Parshall, North Dakota.

April 16, 2010. Twelve people protesting against Sodexho mistreatment of workers were arrested in Montgomery County Maryland. Service Employees International Union.

April 20, 2010. A woman was arrested for standing in the path of a bulldozer to try to prevent mining in Marquette County, Michigan.

April 26, 2010. Seventeen people protesting war and poverty inside and outside the federal building in Chicago were arrested. Midwest Catholic Worker.

April 26, 2010. Boulder Colorado police arrested five people protesting at Valmont coal power plant.

May 3, 2010. Three people protesting nuclear weapons were arrested at Bangor Naval Base outside of Seattle Washington. Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.

May 3, 2010. Twenty two people protesting nuclear weapons were arrested at Grand Central Station in New York city after unfurling banners saying “Nuclear Weapons = Terrorism,” and “Talk Less, Disarm More.” War Resisters League.

May 9, 2010. Seven people trying to stop a foreclosure-driven eviction were arrested in Toledo Ohio. Take Back the Land.

May 15, 2010. Thirty four people protesting against Arizona’s draconian immigration laws were arrested outside the White House.

May 17, 2010. Sixteen people were arrested in NYC protesting against unjust immigration policies.

May 20, 2010. A woman US Army specialist who served as a Military Police applied for conscientious objector status while serving in Iraq and who later left her unit was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

May 24, 2010. Thirty seven people protesting against unjust immigration policies were arrests in New York City.

June 1, 2010. Fifty six people protesting against unjust immigration policies were arrested in NYC.

June 8, 2010. Six peace advocates were arraigned in federal court in Des Moines, Iowa for numerous actions protesting in US Senators offices for the previous several months. One activist, a grandmother and hog farmer, held weekly die-ins in Senators’ offices and was arrested frequently. Once, when police asked her to leave, she replied that she was dead and couldn’t leave. Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

June 15, 2010. Several people protesting against evictions caused by bank foreclosure were arrested in Miami Florida. Take Back the Land.

June 23, 2010. Twenty two people protesting in favor of immigration reform singing “America the Beautiful” and “This Land is Your Land,” were arrested and charged with blocking traffic in Seattle.

July 5, 2010. Thirty six people protesting for a nuclear free future were arrested at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee – thirteen of federal trespass charges and twenty-three on state charges for blocking a highway. Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance.

July 6, 2010. Seventy eight people protesting against police brutality in Oakland California and the trial involving a shooting by a BART police office.

July 23, 2010. One hundred fifty two hotel workers protesting against management at the Grand Hyatt San Francisco were arrested. UNITE Here Local 2.

July 29, 2010. Thirteen people were arrested in Tucson Arizona protesting against the state’s illegal immigration laws.

August 9, 2010. On Nagasaki day, three people protesting against the US commitment to nuclear weapons were arrested outside the US Strategic Air Command in Omaha Nebraska. Omaha Catholic Worker.

August 15, 2010. A twenty two year old female student at Michigan State University who pitched an apple pie at a US Senator during an anti-war protest was arrested and charged with federal felony charges of forcible assault on a federal officer. Another anti-war activist was also arrested and charged with the same crime.

September 9, 2010. Twelve people protesting for equality for gay people in the workplace were arrested in San Francisco.

September 27, 2010. One hundred fourteen people protesting mountaintop removal coal mining were arrested at the White House after a conference of people from West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Prior to this protest, forty-nine activists in the Climate Ground Zero Campaign have served jail time for taking action against strip-mining in Appalachia. Climate Ground Zero.

November 5, 2010. One hundred fifty two people protesting police killings were arrested in Oakland, California.

November 8, 2010. Five people protesting wind turbines in Lincoln, Maine were arrested including an 82 year old native of Maine.

November 21, 2010. Three people were arrested on federal charges and twenty-four more on state charges at the School of Americas/WHINSEC protest in Columbus Georgia outside the gates of Fort Benning. Six others were arrested at a protest against a private prison housing immigrants in rural Georgia. School of Americas Watch. ACLU Immigrant Rights Project.

December 1, 2010. Three people protesting against unjust immigration policies were arrested at the office of a Congress rep in Racine Wisconsin. Voces de la Frontera.

December 16, 2010. One hundred thirty one protestors, including numerous veterans, gathered in the snow outside the White House challenging the war in Afghanistan, the cover-up of war crimes and the prosecution of Bradley Manning and Wikileaks were arrested for failing to clear the sidewalk. In a parallel New York City protest, several others were also arrested. Veterans for Peace.

December 17, 2010. Twenty two people protesting against unfair home foreclosures were arrested when they blocked an entrance to a Chase bank branch in Los Angeles. Alliance Californians for Community Empowerment.

December 20, 2010. Six people were arrested after protesting at Bank of America against the foreclosure of an elderly couple in South Saint Louis. Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment.

December 28, 2010. Three parents asking for the abolition of all nuclear weapons were arrested for leafleting at the Pentagon. Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.


January 2009, seventeen people, clad in black mourning clothes and white masks, were arrested in the US Senate Building for reading the names of the dead in ongoing US wars and unfurling banners stating “The Audacity of War Crimes,” “Iraq,” “Afghanistan,” “Palestine,” and “We Will Not Be Silent.”

January 26, 2009, six human rights advocates were sentenced to two to six months of federal prison or home arrest in federal court in Columbus Georgia for challenging training of Latin American human rights abusers at the US Army School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) by walking onto Fort Benning. School of Americas Watch.

January 2009, a former Army specialist who refused to graduate with his Airborne Division because he realized he could not kill anybody was arrested and jailed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The former soldier had been ordered home in May 2002 to await discharge papers. Courage to Resist.

February 2009. There were fifteen arrests of activists protesting mountain top removal by Massey in West Virginia. Climate Ground Zero.

February 2009, five peace activists in Salem Oregon fasting on the steps of the state capitol building so that National Guard soldiers would not be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan were cited for trespass by state police.

March 1, 2009, six anti-nuclear activists protesting the 55th anniversary of the US nuclear bomb detonation at Bikini Atoll were arrested at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor in Kitsap, Washington after they knelt in the roadway. Ground Zero Community and Pacific Life Community.

March 4, 2009, nine people seeking to present a letter to CEO of Alliant Technologies outlining how weapons manufacturers were prosecuted as war criminals at the end of WWII were arrested in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Alliant Action.

March 12, 2009, four people who were arrested during a protest at Vandenberg Air Force base were fined between $500 and $2500 by federal authorities. California Peace Action.

March 17, 2009, seven people seeking a meeting with US Defense Secretary to challenge the legality of the war in Iraq were arrested at the Pentagon. National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.

March 18, 2009, seven women, ranging in ages from 65 to 89, some in wheelchairs and walkers, were arrested protesting the war in Iraq after wrapping yellow crime scene tape around a military recruiting center and blocking the entrance for an hour in New York City. Grannie Peace Brigade.

March 19, 2009, three people protesting the war in Iraq were arrested in Washington DC. In one instance a US Army veteran scaled the front of the Veterans Administration building and unfurled a banner saying “Veterans Say NO to War and Occupation.” Protests against the war in Iraq in Chicago resulted in an arrest there after banner drop.

March 19-21, 2009, protests against the war in Iraq in San Francisco resulted in twenty-two arrests at a die-in in the financial district, eleven more for blocking a street outside the Civic Center, and ten more at the Saturday march when Palestinian marchers were confronted by pro-Israel counter protestors resulting in police using batons and tear gas.

March 31, 2009, four people were arrested in Brattleboro, Vermont, for standing in silent opposition to the Vermont Yankee nuclear power reactor.

March 31, 2009, an anti-nuclear protestor was convicted of trespassing at the Los Alamos nuclear weapons facility and sentenced to two days in jail, community service and probation. Trinity House Catholic Worker.

April 3, 2009, four people protesting injustices on Wall Street and in Afghanistan and Iraq were arrested in New York, NY, for marching down the center of the street. Bail Out the People Movement.

April 9, 2009, fourteen people were arrested at Creech Air Force outside Las Vegas Nevada base protesting against the US use of drones in lethal attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Nevada Desert Experience.

April 10, 2009, eight people were arrested while kneeling and praying for peace at the Pentagon. Another, clad in an orange jumpsuit and black hood, was arrested at the White House where he was chained to the fence protesting the human rights abuses of Guantanamo. Jonah House.

April 10, 2009, sixteen people were arrested while protesting the war profiteer Lockheed Martin in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Brandywine Peace Community.

April 12, 2009, twenty one people were arrested while protesting the use of nuclear weapons at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site on Western Shoshone tribal lands. Nevada Desert Experience.

April 17, 2009. A man protesting US polices of violence, racism and poverty-production was sentenced to six months in prison for hammering out some windows in the US Military Recruiting Center in Lancaster Pennsylvania.

April 23, 2009, four people protesting lies by military recruiters were arrested after locking themselves to the door at the military recruiting center in Minnesota. Three others were arrested at the Knollwood Plaza after disrupting the recruitment center so much it had to be closed. Another woman was arrested near a recruiting center after placing a “Don’t Enlist” sticker on a police car. Antiwar committee.

April 24, 2009, a woman calling for the return of the National Guard from Iraq was arrested in the US House Appropriations during testimony by US Generals in Washington DC. Code Pink.

April 28, 2009, a US Army veteran who refused to fight in Iraq was court-martialed in Fort Stewart, Georgia and sentenced to one year in prison. Courage to Resist.

April 29, 2009, twenty-two people were arrested after trying to serve a Notice of Foreclosure for Moral Bankruptcy on Blackwater/Xe, the mercenary company responsible for so many deaths in Iraq, at its compound in Mount Carmel, Illinois. Des Moines Catholic Worker Community.

April 30, 2009, sixty three people were arrested at the White House protesting against illegal detention and torture at Guantanamo prison. Witness Against Torture.

May 20, 2009. Twenty one people protesting against the war in Iraq were arrested outside a military recruiting center in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

July 22, 2009, four people protesting against Boeing’s role in the production of drones, which have killed more than 700 people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, were arrested inside the Boeing lobby in Chicago, Illinois. Christian Peacemaker Teams.

August 4, 2009, four shareholders who sought to speak at the shareholders meeting of depleted uranium munitions producer Alliant Techsystems were arrested when they approached the microphone in Eden Prairie Minnesota. Alliant Action.

August 5, 2009, a US Army specialist who refused to deploy to Afghanistan was sentenced to 30 days in jail and given a less than honorable discharge in Killeen Texas. Courage to Resist.

August 6, 2009, a 75 year old priest, protesting the 64th anniversary of the US dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima, was arrested outside of Greeley Colorado where he cut the fence around a nuclear missile silo, hung peace banners, prayed and tried to break open the hatch on the silo.

August 6, 2009, nine antiwar activists were arrested at Fort McCoy Wisconsin after a three day peace walk protesting against US nuclear weapons and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nuke Watch.

August 6, 2009, two people were arrested at the Pentagon entrance on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing carrying a banner stating “Remember the Pain, Remember the Sin, Reclaim the Future.” Jonah House.

August 6, 2009, twenty two people protesting the horror of Hiroshima were arrested in Livermore California when they blocked the entrance to the Lawrence Livermore weapons lab. Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment.

August 6, 2009, nine people at a vigil for peace and nonviolence were arrested for walking onto Lockheed Martin property at Valley Forge Pennsylvania and spreading sunflower seeds, an international symbol for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Brandywine Peace Community.

August 6, 2009, two people were arrested when they refused to stop praying at the gates of the Davis-Monthan Air Force base in Tucson Arizona. Rose of the Desert Catholic Worker.

August 10, 2009, nine persons calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons were arrested at Bangor Naval base, home to the Trident submarine, twenty miles from Seattle Washington. Ground Zero Community.

August 14, 2009, a US Army Sergeant who refused to go to Afghanistan and who asked for conscientious objector status was found guilty of disobeying lawful orders and going AWOL at a trial in Fort Hood. He was sentenced to one year in prison and given a bad conduct discharge.

August 17, 2009. Four people were arrested outside the Boalt Hall classroom where they were protesting John Yoo, who coauthored the memos authorizing torture on people in Guantanamo during the Bush administration.

August 22, 2009, two people protesting against nuclear missile testing were arrested at Vandenberg Air Force base and cited for trespass.

September 9, 2009. Four people protesting against Massey Energy mountain top removal were arrested in Madison West Virginia. Climate Ground Zero.

September 12, 2009, seven people who were protesting against the use of the high-tech bloodless arcade Army Experience Center in Philadelphia were arrested. Seven other protestors were arrested there earlier in the year. Shut Down the AEC.

September 24, 2009, ninety two people protesting management disregard for union rights of hotel workers were arrested at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Francisco. UNITE Here Local 2.

September 27, 2009, twenty one people protesting against the Nevada Test Site were arrested at the Mercury gate. At an action to “Ground the Drones” protesting the increasing use of lethal drones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, another eleven people were arrested. Code Pink. Pace e Bene. Nevada Desert Experience.

September 28, 2009, four women, ages 66 to 90, walked past security guards at the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant protesting inadequate safety at the plant. Carrying signs saying “Yom Kippur, September 28, Time to Atone, Shut Down Vermont Yankee,” this was the seventh set of arrests at the nuclear plant or its corporate headquarters since 2005.

September, 2009, the US Army accepted the resignation of Lieutenant, who refused to fight in Iraq because he believed the war violates international law, and gave him a discharge under other than honorable conditions. Courage to Resist.

October 1, 2009. A well known mixed martial arts fighter was sentenced to 90 days of work release and a fine of $28,000 for spraying symbols on an Army recruiting center and the Washington State Capitol building to help raise consciousness about the illegal war in Iraq.

October 2, 2009. Four people trying to deliver a document titled “Employee Liabilities of Weapons Manufacturers under International Law” to the weapons manufacturer Alliant Technologies were arrested in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Alliant Action.

October 5, 2009, a couple, who married the day before and who were carrying a banner saying “Just Married; Love Disarms,” were arrested during a peace protest at Lockheed-Martin in Sunnyvale California. A priest was also arrested as the three gave out leaflets to workers entering the war contractor work site. Albuquerque New Mexico Catholic Worker.

October 5, 2009, sixty one people were arrested while protesting the ninth year of the US war in Afghanistan in front of the White House. Some of the arrested were in orange jumpsuits and chained to the fence. Secret Service officers assaulted other protestors, pushing and pulling them away from the protest site, bruising some. No Good War and Jonah House.

October 7, 2009, twelve protestors against the war in Afghanistan were arrested in Rochester, NY. Some of the arrested were treated at the hospital after being struck by police. Rochester Students for a Democratic Society.

October 7, 2009. Two people were arrested in Grand Central Station after unfurling banners which said “Afghanistan Enough!” War Resisters League.

October 11, 2009. Two women who held up banners when Tiger Woods was ready to putt, saying “President Obama – End Bush’s War,” and “End the Afghan Quagmire,” were handcuffed and escorted away from the President’s Cup golf tournament in San Francisco.

November 2, 2009. Five people calling for nuclear disarmament cut through the fence around the Naval Base Kitsap which houses the Trident nuclear submarines and nuclear warheads outside of Seattle Washington. The five walked through the base until they found the storage area for nuclear weapons and cut two more fences to get inside where they put up banners and spread sunflower seeds until they were arrested. Disarm Now Plowshares.

November 4, 2009. Two people were arrested while protesting outside Vandenberg Air Force base in California. Vandenberg Witness.

November 4, 2009. Eight protestors, including one who was 91 years old, were arrested at the Strategic Space Symposium in Omaha Nebraska while holding a “Space Weapons=Death” banner. Des Moines and Omaha Catholic Worker.

November 15, 2009. Five people protesting against US torture practices at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where military interrogators are trained were arrested. Torture on Trial.

November 22, 2009. Four people protesting the training of human rights abusers by the US Army at their School of Americas/WHINSEC were arrested in Columbus, Georgia. School of Americas Watch.

November 23, 2009. A longtime war tax resister pled guilty to avoiding paying taxes for war at court in Bangor Maine. National War Tax Resistance Coordination Committee.

December 1, 2009. Protestors at 100 cities across the country challenged President Obama’s talk at West Point to escalate the war in Afghanistan. Six were arrested at West Point, eleven in Minneapolis, and three in Madison Wisconsin.

December 9, 2009. Six people protesting that President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize were arrested outside the federal building in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Catholic Worker.

December 10, 2009. Six people protesting the use of lethal drones were forcibly escorted out of the 11th Annual Unmanned Aerial Systems Conference outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Trinity Nuclear Abolition and Code Pink.

More information about many of these arrests can be found at www.nukeresister.org.

Bill Quigley is Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Contact Bill at quigley77@gmail.com

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